Ed note; This post is written by Webmaster T (Terry Van Horne) and Dojo Gal whom Terry is mentoring. You can expect more posts to come from T and Dojo gal in the future
“There’s more politics in SEO than there’s ever been in government.” ~ DojoGal
Dear Optimizing Brethren,
Yes, I’m talking to you, Link Acquisition Specialist. And you, On-page Aficionado. And you – yes, you in the back with your nose buried in search patents. I see you. This letter is for everyone who claims to be a part of the SEO industry, whatever hat they wear… and really is.
Wake. The Hell. Up. Understand that the SEO industry isn’t an industry at all. As it stands right now, we’re a bunch of nerds tinkering on the Web.
Let’s look at the facts, shall we?
SEO outings have become quite the rage.
Whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing is a moot point (and I’ve heard strong arguments from both sides). If you’re going to throw what you consider “bad tactics” under the bus, fine, but at least take the friggin’ time to add what you would consider “good tactics” to the mix.
If your conscience says SEO outing is the right thing to do, cool. Go on with your bad self. If you just stop there, though, without adding that there are good, ethical, honest (pick your metaphor) optimizers, you’re just a dink with penis envy as far as I’m concerned. Somebody has a bigger one than you and you can’t stand it.
Don’t tout that crap about ethics. Don’t give me a line of bull as long as my arm about how it helps the SEO industry. It doesn’t help the industry; if you’re not giving other options at the same time, it further perpetuates the idea that SEO is nothing but snake oil.
Webmaster T Responds to Dojo gal:
I have dealt with consumers of SEO services for around 10 years with SeoPros and have been monitoring techniques for almost as long as there has been SEO. I can tell you categorically there are some who, when allowed to continue providing SEO services, are very bad for the industry image.
I think the “fight club” mentality of the past was also bad for the image of SEO’s. Somewhere in the middle ground is the place to take the industry so that the reputation of all isn’t adversely affected by the few. One way to illustrate our concern is to show some effort in providing guidance to consumers wishing to contract an SEO.
One of my concerns about the attitude of the industry is this feeling that consumers should have to do more due diligence to hire a “competent” SEO than to hire a lawyer or doctor. The simple answer is to set some sort of “best practices” for business and technique that sets some level of competence to be viewed as a Professional technical SEO or Search Engine Marketing Strategist.
Dojo Gal goes on adding:
Industry support is seriously lacking.
By support, I don’t mean a little invite-only, VIP social club passing a select few links around the Web. That’s cool and all, but it’s all hidden under the rug. That’s what you do when you aren’t proud of your connections. It reminds me of high school, when you didn’t want your cool friends to know you had uncool friends.
SNC is a perfect example. You know who RT’s, comments or otherwise contributes to supporting Search News Central? The same handful of people have supported SNC with engagement. SNC gets lots of traffic, but few comments or shares.
What – you’re so busy that you can’t take three minutes out of your time to comment on an article you enjoyed? Maybe you haven’t seen any articles you liked. If not, take a few minutes to let SNC know what you’d like to read about.
Another example: optimizers who like to write articles about how “today’s SEOs” don’t live up to the writer’s standards. These articles get many comments, but they’re all of similar tone – agreeing that, yes, there are stupid SEOs out there.
Let’s give both sides of the story, people. As with the SEO outings, share some of the positives as well. Look – I can forgive mainstream news for throwing more dirt on the industry; hell, it’s sensationalism and it sells. What I can’t forgive is when an optimizer throws dirt on the industry without planting a flower in the dirt.
There’s a dark and a bright side to every industry; I’m sick and tired of hearing all the negative without some positive sunshine to go with it.
Webmaster T Responds to Dojo Gal:
I agree that support by SEOs for the industry outside of their own organization has been poor to abysmal. Many cling to the old ways and attitudes like infants clutching their security blankets for comfort.
One other thing that I would hope some will consider is this. Instead of sending people on their way with little guidance when they are no longer accepting new clients, send them to SeoPros or another Organization like SEOconsultants where there is a bar set for competence. SEMPO could be another but there are no vetted members
Also let people know that beyond these “vetted” organizations some organizations give recommendations as “best SEO in…” or “Best Link Builder in…” for cash and most certifications require nothing more than participation to qualify. In other words, crush the myth that these are anything but legitimate or having the consumer’s best interest in mind when they recommend and endorse these services.
Dojo Gal goes on adding:
Anybody can be an SEO.
Or, at least, anybody can say they’re an SEO; they don’t have to know shite about it, either. So, some dinkwad who knows nothing but what they’ve read hangs up an “I’m an SEO” shingle, screws some clients over because, duh, they aren’t really an SEO, and more snake oil hits the Internet. It makes the industry look bad, people.
Yet, whenever anyone raises the topic of industry regulation (Judith Lewis just wrote a good pro-regulation article), many optimizers get outraged. “Like, dude, regulation is the man, dude. It’s all, like, rules n’ stuff.”
A few places have tried to create organizations that outline what a legitimate optimizer is. I’m not talking paid review sites, either; I mean real attempts. What happens? SEOs spend so much time criticizing that they miss the validity of the attempt. Yet, if we don’t figure out something soon, there’s not much hope of us ever stepping away from being nerds tinkering on the Web.
How can we regulate the industry? Who does the regulation? I don’t know. Somebody brighter than I am will have to figure it out. What I do know is as long as we’re bickering over whether regulation is even needed, we won’t be moving forward.
Now, this isn’t a “why can’t we all just get along” speech. We come from all walks of life, and a unified agreement is a pipe dream. This is more like an impassioned plea. Support our industry – openly. Share the bad and the good. Tell both sides of the story. – Because, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be part of an industry than just a nerd with a computer.
Webmaster T Responds to Dojo Gal:
First and foremost, a lot of the negativity towards standards/regulation is a lack of understanding what is meant by standards and regulation. Well that, in and of itself, has a lot of baggage, so I can never see regulation meeting with any sort of success.
For many SEO’s the negativity stems from their confidence that their work would with stand the scrutiny standards imply. There are so many contentious issues in SEO techniques that this is a legitimate concern. There is a feeling by many SEOs that much of what we do is very hard to pin down with standards.
IMO, “best practices” are more of a reasonable tract to take. However, some aspects of Technical SEO are rooted in protocols and how Search Engines use them. These absolutely can be tested and there is consensus among the industry for their usage.